Waiting for Godot: A short play about commuting on the New York City subways during the current schedule disruptions.
(With thanks and apologies to Samuel Beckett and the real Waiting for Godot.)
A subway station late at night. An iPhone.
Estragon, sitting on a low wooden bench, is trying to get his iPhone to work. He gives up, exhausted.
Estragon: No train. Ever. No Reception, either.
Vladimir: You may actually be right. All my life, I've tried to look at the bright side. The New York subway's reasonable, and it never closes down and goes everywhere. When I found the commute intolerable, I said, you haven't tried everything. And I resumed the struggle to wait patiently.
Vladimir: May I inquire, where did you spend the night?
Estragon: In a corner of the station.
Vladimir: A station? Where?
Estragon: Over there.
Vladimir: And they didn't give you a ticket?
Estragon: Ticket me? Certainly they ticketed me.
Vladimir: The same as usual?
Estragon: The same? I don't know.
Vladimir: On the other hand what's the good of losing heart now, that's what I say. We should have thought of it a million years ago. Or at least a few years ago.
Estragon: Wasn't that when the Ravitch Plan to save the subways was being considered in Albany?
Vladimir: Right, in 2008, when he was the head of the state commission to rescue the subway with a mobility tax on payrolls in the region. He would walk around with that 100-year-old signal light to show how dangerously dilapidated the system had become
Estragon: Did they beat him?
Vladimir: Of course.
Estragon: The same lot as usual?
Vladimir: There's no train. Do you think we came to the right spot?
Estragon: Charming spot. Inspiring spot. Let's go.
Vladimir: We can't.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We're waiting for the D.
Estragon: How long have we been here?
Vladimir: I don't know. It feels like 50 minutes. Or 50 years.
Estragon: Do you remember the days I could commute with but a few minutes between trains? It was like a walk in the sun.
Vladimir: It's not certain.
Estragon: No, nothing is certain.
Vladimir: We can still take a cab, if you think it would be better.
Estragon: It's not worth it now.
Vladimir: No, it's not worth it now.
Estragon: Shall we go?
Vladimir: Yes, let's go.
They do not move.